You don't want to waste any time in birders' paradise - Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. More than 275 species of birds are found in Becker County. Why? Because the Detroit Lakes area is in the heart of a transition zone of tall grass prairie, northern hardwood and conifer forest ecosystems. Serious birders flock here each spring for the annual Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds.
The 22st annual Festival of Birds is scheduled for May 16-18, 2019 featuring humorist and story teller Al Batt.
A total of 159 species of birds were recorded during the 2018 festival. The field trip to Felton Prairie led the way with 122 species including the Chestnut-sided Longspur. The Thursday evening Birding by Pontoon recorded 47 species including Yellow-headed Blackbird, 5 species of Swallows and Red-necked Grebe. The field trip to Hamden Slough and Tamarac National Wildlife Refuges came up with 119 species including the Greater Prairie Chicken and 19 species of warblers. On the Itasca State Park field trip, 89 species were recorded including several species of warblers. Blanket Flower field trip produced 92 species including 5 species of sparrows.
Stand out presentations were given Friday evening by Carrol Henderson summarizing his 45 years of conservation in the DNR and Saturday evening by Noah Strycker recounting his Big Year in 2015 when he saw a record 5042 birds.
Festival attendees throughout the years have learned much about birds, wildlife and the environment through presenters such as John Fitzpatrick, John Marzluff, Joel Greenberg, Melissa Groo, Rosalind Renfrew, Sue Leaf, Drew Wheelan, Charlie Walcott, Richard Crossley, Scott Wiedensaul, David Sibley, Bill Thompson III, Laura Erickson, Don and Lillian Stokes, Kenn Kaufmann, Dr. Paul Johnsgard, Stan Tekiela, Dr. James Grier, Sharon Stiteler, Al Batt, Jeff Gordon, Joe Hautman, Jeb Barzen, Ernesto Reyes and Noah Strycker.
If you would like to receive future Festival of Birds programs and are not on the current mailing list, please contact us at dlchamber@VisitDetroitLakes.com or call toll free 800.542.3992. For updates, "like" us on facebook. See the list of recorded species below. Enjoy our small town hospitality while in Detroit Lakes, including several lodging options.
In recent years, birders have checked these species off their list: Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Rough-legged Hawk, Chestnut-collared Longspur, LeConte's and Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrows, Rock Wren, Golden-winged and Northern Parula Warblers, Alder Flycatcher and Black-backed Woodpecker.
Any time of year, we welcome you to check out several sites along the Pine to Prairie International Birding Trail that are near Detroit Lakes. Download the Bird Checklist of 275 species along the trail below. For more birding opportunities in Minnesota, see the MOU website.
Everywhere you go in Detroit Lakes' bird paradise, you're guaranteed to see birds to check off your bird list. We welcome you to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Happy birding!